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Digital tools and Scotland’s Participatory Budgeting programme

The Scottish Government commissioned the Democratic Society (Demsoc) to conduct a research project into the use of digital tools to support Participatory Budgeting (PB), in the context of the requirements of local councils in Scotland. This report, drawn from Demsoc’s own research and workshops and discussions with 18 councils currently working on PB around Scotland, is the output of that work.

This project included both needs assessment and product analysis components. We engaged with officers from 18 councils across Scotland to ascertain what they saw as their current needs as well as their aspirations for the future with regards to digital PB tools. We also analysed over 60 digital tools and engaged with developers and experts to produce 6 demonstration websites to display how digital tools could be used as part of PB in Scotland.

We facilitated workshops across the country with participating councils to allow them to explore and assess possible digital tools that could be used to augment their PB projects. The data gathered throughout this 4-month project has enabled us to form a number of recommendations that relate to the use of digital tools for Participatory Budgeting in Scotland.